Think of the Children for February 18th

Think of the Children for February 18th

Written by Randy Kalista on 2/18/2009 for DS   PC   PS2   PS3   PSP   Wii   360  
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Two dozen games were put through the ESRB ratings grinder last week, and two of the games appear on completed unexpected platforms. Pulseman, in addition to the Wii, is rated for the Sega Genesis (?!?), while P.J. Pride: Pet Detective has introduced a new “platform” to the ESRB that goes by the name of “Web Browser.” So it appears that Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox (et al) are bona fide gaming platforms to be recognized by the ratings board. Well done. That certainly speaks to the maturation of games capable of being played in-browser.

The PC continues to be the low-rent platform for pushing casual--but big-budget,too--titles, numbering 10 releases rated this past week. The Nintendo Wii and DS had seven and six titles rated, respectively. The Mac nabs a title (Jeopardy! Super Deluxe; which is fast on the heels of last week’s Wheel of Fortune Super Deluxe!). The cross-platformer award goes to Stormrise, a post-apocalyptic RTS, and Major League Baseball 2K9; both games gracing the 360, PC and PS3.

This week’s best bet goes to Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, follow-up to the game still held up today as the best video game based on a movie property to date. But, excitingly, Desktop Tower Defense--the Wolfenstein of tower defense games--is marching onto the DS. I find Fieldrunners on the iPhone to be superior, but Fieldrunners had a year-and-a-half to improve upon a winning formula, plus it knows how to steal incremental improvements from other tower defense games like PixelJunk Monsters.

The 360 and PS3 are in lockstep with their releases, neither one getting the jump on the other for console exclusives. Both will be button-mashing through Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2, making the Stormrise, assaulting Dark Athena, and hitting up another season of Japan’s favorite pastime in MLB 2K9.

P.J. Pride: Pet Detective is the Intriguing Title of the Week, but for indirect reasons. While it’s rated E for Everyone, it’s caused the ESRB to toss “Web Browser” into the platform column. Though, perhaps that’s only because it’s simultaneously rated for the PC. I can’t imagine the ESRB keeping up with the deluge of browser-only games that come out every week.

Title   Publisher   Rating   Platforms
History Great Empires: Rome  Valcon Everyone 10+  DS
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2  Namco Bandai Teen  PS2, 360, PS3
Elven Legacy  Paradox Interactive  Teen  PC
Imagine Music Fest  Ubisoft  Everyone  DS
Let's Tap  Sega Everyone  Wii
P.J. Pride: Pet Detective  iWin Everyone  PC, Web
Pulseman  Sega Everyone  Wii, Genesis
Rune Factory: Frontier  Xseed JKS Everyone 10+  Wii
Stormrise  Sega Mature  PC, 360, PS3
Jewel Quest 2  iWin Everyone  PC
Mysteryville  iWin Everyone  PC
Gardening Mama  Majesco Everyone  DS
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena  Atari  Mature  PC, 360, PS3
Boing! Docomodake  Ignition Everyone  DS
SameGame: Pop 'Em, Drop 'Em  Hudson Everyone  Wii
Mario Power Tennis  Nintendo  Everyone  Wii
Sam & Max Season 2  Atari  Teen  PC, Wii
Leeloo's Talent Agency  RealNetworks  Everyone  PC
Avalon Code  Xseed JKS Everyone 10+  DS
Patapon 2  Sony Everyone  PSP
Major League Baseball 2K9  2K Games  Everyone  PC, 360, PS3
Jeopardy! Super Deluxe  Encore Everyone  Mac, PC
Crayola Colorful Journey  Crave Everyone  Wii
Desktop Tower Defense  ValuSoft Everyone  DS

Here’s the final tally on who, what and where everything was rated for last week. There were 24 rated titles on ten platforms (since we’re counting web browsers and the Genesis, for heaven’s sake: 360 (4), DS (6), Genesis (1), Mac (1), PC (10), PS2 (1), PS3 (4), PSP (1), Web Browser (1), Wii (7). There were 19 of the 24 titles rated Everyone 10+ or lower, 3 rated Teen, and 2 titles (Stormrise and the Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena) bring home the Mature.

The running tally of game ratings in 2009 is as follows:
Rating   Count
Everyone  120
Everyone 10+  28
Teen  43
Mature  10
Adults Only  0

Got a comment on the article or a rated game? Put it in the comments section or send me an e-mail. Until next week, make sure you know what your kids are playing…

*The weekly Intriguing Title of the Week (and any game that is tossed in that paragraph) is identified based on a game on the list that catches the eye of the author for any number of reasons. Good, bad or otherwise, feel free to agree, disagree or add some constructive input to the discussion

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

About Author

Randy gravitates toward anything open world, open ended, or open to interpretation. He prefers strategy over shooting, introspection over action, and stealth and survival over looting and grinding. He's been a gamer since 1982, and writing critically about video games for over 15 years. A few of his favorites are Skyrim, Elite Dangerous, and Red Dead Redemption. He lives with his wife and daughter in Oregon.

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